Study Guide

A Million Little Pieces The Truth

By James Frey

The Truth

It is a touching story, and it is written more to convince than to tell. I am not convinced. No way, not at all. Not at all. (1.8.13)

James is talking about the story of the founder of AA here. He doesn't believe the man's addition-to-recovery tale. Is that a little ironic? Someone who doesn't tell the truth criticizing someone else for not telling the truth?

Remember the truth. It is all that matters. (1.8.204)

James says this after imagining a pretty grim obituary for himself that doesn't include anything positive in it at all. He seems to think that "Truth" is synonymous with "only the bad stuff."

Life is hard, Kid, you gotta be harder […] There is an anger and there is a hardness and there is a resolve. (1.8.405)

Leonard speaks what James believes is the truth, and that's why James follows him instead of the Twelve Steps. Leonard's philosophy is the truth, and as James said above, that's all that matters.

Were I in my normal frame of mind, I would stand up, point my finger, scream Fraud, and chase this Chump Motherf***er down and give him a beating. (2.3.373)

Lies make James really angry. He should be glad that Oprah didn't feel the same way about him, or he might have been beaten to death in the parking lot by a mob of angry housewives.

The truth is all that matters. This is f***ing heresy. (2.3.377)

It would be irresponsible of us to suggest a <em>Million Little Pieces </em>drinking game, but seriously, if you took a drink every time James talked about the paramount important of the truth, you'd need to go to rehab yourself before the book was over. Why is he is so insistent about the truth?

They ring true and that is all that matters the truth. (2.3.388)

Take another drink! (Not really.) James says this after reading four poems in the Tao Te Ching. A few years later, Frey was more into the idea that truth is subjective, but here, he kind of seems to be labeling his own beliefs "the truth."

Bobby, like all Liars confronted, is instantly defense and instantly mad. (2.4.202)

Now James has taken it upon himself to call out anyone he deems a liar. Do you think Bobby is actually telling the truth about his mobster past, or has he been seen through by another liar?

[The kiss] is more, open, deeper, full, simpler, true. It is more. True. (2.4.537)

If kissing a recovering crack fiend in the woods isn't true, we don't know what is. For James, this is true love, which again, makes us wonder if he even understands what truth actually is.

I've read the Bible. It didn't ring true to me. (3.1.109)

That's irony right there. Many people read this book and it didn't ring true to them, either. But there also a lot of people who read the book (including Oprah) for whom the book<em> did</em> ring true. Maybe "truth" doesn't matter. Maybe what matters is whether you're willing to believe or not?

Each page seems as if it takes an hour. As I move through them, I feel better and I feel worse. (4.3.109)

No, James isn't reading <em>For Better or For Worse </em>from the funny pages; he's reading his inventory: an honest account of every bad thing he's ever done in his life. There are <em>a lot</em> of pages, and the truth of all that awfulness hurts... but it also feels good to get it out.